Part of a silver cufflink dating back to the 17th century has been unearthed by a metal detector enthusiast on farmland in Messingham. North Lincolnshire coroner Paul Kelly – at a treasure trove hearing in Scunthorpe – declared the rare find was treasure. The silver disc decorated with a pair of hearts beneath a crown was found by Andrew Mitchell, from Rotherham, at Lowmoor Farm on September 20 last year.
Experts from the British Museum reported to Mr Kelly that the disc dated to between 1662 and 1700 when the fashion for cufflinks to fasten sleeves developed. The crown-and-hearts motif might have celebrated the marriage of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza in 1662. It was also thought the Messingham treasure had royalist and/or Catholic associations.
Under the Treasure Act 1996, finders of objects which constitute a legally defined term of treasure are obliged to report their find to their local coroner within 14 days. If it is declared to be treasure, then the finder must offer the item for sale to a museum at a price set by an independent board of antiquities experts known as the Treasure Valuation Committee. Only if a museum expresses no interest in the item, or is unable to purchase it, can the finder retain it.
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